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CINCINNATI - It didn't end as they had hoped — but you could also say it didn't end where most expected.

The Aviators incredible season came to a close Thursday, in a 4-2 loss to Turpin in Regional Semi-Final at Marge Schott Stadium, on the University of Cincinnati campus.

In game that could have titled either way, the Spartans — who have made an improbable run themselves, were able to hold off the Aviators' seventh inning comeback attempt.

"It just didn't work out.  It was a fun group.  I enjoyed it," said coach Trent Dues after the game.

It was a group that many counted out before the season even began.

"This has been an uplifting season for our team, as we were not expected by a lot of people to do what we have done especially after a slow start," said Dues.

After a 1-2 start, the Aviators went on to win 17 of their next 19 games, setting the tone for what would be a 14-0 mark in the GWOC American North, along with Sectional and District titles.

With a final record of 24-7, 14-0 the 24 wins is the fourth highest win mark in program history.

A feat that few saw coming without senior ace Braedon Norman, the Wright State bound righty who is bouncing back from Tommy John surgery.

"We have risen above two serious injuries to two starters from last year and have hopefully have made our community proud," Dues said.

"We have several unselfish players who are not playing their number one preferred position, but are doing it without pouting for the good of the whole.  We are a true team in every sense of the word."

Without question a true team — a team that earned everything, including the pride of a community. 

KINGS MILLS - The Aviators (24-6) knocked off Mason (25-4) in a 6-5 thriller, to win the District Championship Thursday evening.

The District title is the Aviators ninth, and first since 2012 — when the Aviators ironically beat the same Mason team in a 2-1 nailbiter.

In that game, the Aviators were pitting a crafty left-hander in Austin Craine against Pitt commit TJ Zeuch, a power throwing righty that consistently pounded the zone in the upper 80's.

Fast-forward to Thursday — where the parallels were uncanny, as Butler again was going the way of a crafty southpaw in Cam Miller, against Cincinnati commit and Mason ace Evan Kemp (9-2).

It was a gamble that would again payoff for the Aviators.

The Comets got things going early with a leadoff double by Cole Harting and took advantage of a two out error to grab the early 1-0 lead.

Kemp opened the bottom half of the inning with a walk to Cam Miller — kicking off what would be a devastating inning for the Comets.

After a pop out and a Boston Smith single, the wheels fell off for kemp who walked the next three batters, giving Butler a 2-1 lead.

Quinton Hall then sent a burner to shortstop, eating up Max Johnson for an error and two additional runs, for a 4-1 Butler lead.

Mike Masters followed suit with an RBI to score Zach Fults, and the Aviators took a commanding 5-1 lead into the second inning.

"We were disciplined enough at the plate, as their guy was a little wild which allowed us to get five in the first and we hung on," said head coach Trent Dues.

The Comets battled back to pull to within 5-3 the following inning — but the Aviators would get one back in the bottom of the third, as Will Yeary's sacrifice fly to left scored Fults for a 6-3 Butler advantage.

The Comets again threatened in the fourth with two on and one out. J.P. Sponseller sent a hard hit, rising line drive just over the head of first baseman Quinton Hall, who made a miraculous catch and tapout at first for the clutch, rally crushing double play.

Sound pitching and steady defense kept both teams scoreless for most of the later innings, but the Comets had one last rally left in them.

Miller started the final inning with a strikeout, that got away from catcher Cooper Harestad, putting Harting aboard for Mason.

Sponseller flew out to to Karter Peck for the first out, but a 3-1 pitch to Joe Powell got away from Miller, plunking Powell to put two aboard with one out.

Mason Holloway singled on the next at bat, loading the bases for the Comets — putting the overflow crowd of Butler and Mason spectators on edge.

After an incredible day on the mound, Miller gave way to fellow lefty Quinton Hall — and the sophomore delivered.

Hall's third offering to Liam McFadden-Ackman was grounded to shortstop Zach Fults, who made the quick throw to Cody Borchers at second for the fielder's choice and the second out.

Harting scored for Mason, cutting the Butler lead to 6-4 with runners at the corners. As if the anticipation wasn't bad enough the second lightning delay of the evening sent the game into another 30-minute suspension.

Once play resumed, Max Johnson reached on an error , scoring Powell to cut the lead to 6-5.

But a play later, a routine grounder to Cody Borchers and a throw to first baseman Cam Miller would send the Aviators into celebration — and a trip to the Regional Semi-Final.

"What a great win for the Aviators," said a jubilant Dues after the ensuing celebration.

"We played just well enough defensively and had just enough offensively to get it done."

On the mound, the Aviators got a gutsy performance from Miller, who just two days earlier picked up a clutch save in a tough win over Troy.

The junior's ability to come back on Thursday, was truly something to witness. Miller finished the day working 6 1/3 innings, allowing just four hits, while striking out five.

Hall picked up the save, coming into a tough situation to again pitch well beyond his years — an ability that he showed as a freshman in 2018.

"Cam kept them off balance and Q was ice in relief — it's a great day to be an Aviator" said Dues.

It is indeed.

With the win, Butler will face the winner of the Badin/Turpin in the Regional Semi-Final on Thursday, May 30th at 2:00 PM on the campus of the University of Cincinnati.

CENTERVILLE - The Aviators (23-6, 14-0) continued their postseason run with a 4-2 win over Troy (20-8) in Tuesday's District Semi-Final showdown at Centerville.

After blowing the Trojans out in back-to-back wins during the regular season  — Butler faced a Troy team that was much more true to form in the final go-round.

In spite of a solid performance from Troy pitcher Cole Brogan (8-2), the Aviators again found a way to get the better of the Trojans and their ace.

"It was a great win for the Aviators," said head coach Trent Dues after the victory.

Butler got things started right out of the gate with back-to-back singles by junior Cam Miller and senior Cody Borchers.

Boston Smith followed suit with an RBI fielder's choice to score Miller for a 1-0 lead  — the sophomore third baseman would come around two batters later on passed ball for a quick 2-0 advantage.

It was a lead that Butler would retain for the duration.

Troy answered in the top of the fourth courtesy of a Brogan RBI single.  The Troy pitcher looked to tie the game two batters later on a hard single to centerfielder Cam Miller that sent the Trojan senior rounding third and heading home.

But Miller had other plans — scooping up the baseball and firing a laser beam to senior catcher Cooper Harestad for a crucial, inning ending out at the plate.

The Aviators got the run back in the bottom half by way of Harestad's line drive double to score fellow senior Karter Peck for a 3-1 advantage.

Austin Kendall's RBI single in the top of the fifth pulled Troy to within 3-2 , but the Aviators again got the run back an inning later courtesy of a text book sacrifice bunt by junior Zach Fults, scoring peck from third.

"Harestad, Peck, Fults and Smith came up big for us on offense," Dues said.

"Our defense was very solid and we had just enough offense to get it done."

Backed by a sound defense that played error free baseball, pitchers Cody Borchers (8-1) and Cam Miller again proved to be a dynamic duo on the mound.

Borchers got the start, working 4 1/2 innings, allowing just two runs on four hits, while striking out three.

Cam MIller came on and picked up the save, striking out three while allowing just one hit.

"Borchers and Cam gave us solid innings tonight," said Dues.

"We were just vulnerable in some areas and they figured that out.  That's what good teams do," said Troy coach Ty Welker.

"Those guys are deserving of winning a league title and getting to go to the District Final."

The win earns Butler a spot in Thursday's District Final at Kings High School, where they will face Mason (25-3, 17-1) at 5:00 PM.

"Now we have to prepare for a good Mason team on Thursday," said Dues.

COLDWATER - The Aviators (22-6) got in a quality tune-up game Saturday afternoon with an 11-5 win over Coldwater (21-6).

"A good win in preparation for next week," said coach Trent Dues after the win.

A perennial power in Division III, the Cavs always prove to be a worthy opponent — and this meeting was no different.

After Butler jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, courtesy of a Boston Smith RBI single to score Cam Miller  — the Cavs jumped ahead in the bottom half of the first with a two run homer by Noah Miller.

The Aviators answered again in the top of the third inning on Quinton Hall's two RBI single, plating Miller and Cody Borchers for a 3-2 lead.

The Cavs pulled even in the bottom in the bottom of the third, but a five run fourth inning put the Aviators in control  — and three additional runs in the sixth inning solidified the win for the Aviators.

Offensively  Butler was paced by senior catcher Cooper Harestad, who finished 2-for-2 from the plate with four RBI.  Quinton Hall, Boston Smith and Zach Fults each added two RBI in the win.

"The pitchers all got some work and we sprayed the ball around pretty good," said Dues.

On the mound, Quinton Hall, Alex Joynes and Cam Miller combined for six strikeouts and held Coldwater to just seven hits and two earned runs.

Butler will take on Troy (20-7) in the District Semi-Finals on Tuesday, May 21st at 5:00 PM at Centerville High School.

VANDALIA - There are two times when you can throw the records out the window — in a rivalry and in the postseason.

Both scenarios converged Thursday evening in front of an overflow crowd as Butler (21-6) earned a 3-2 Sectional Championship win over  Northmont (10-18)

Things have not gone the Thunderbolts way this season, including a 13-7 loss to Butler earlier in the year.  

But the Bolts led by first year coach Ross Kincaid had turned the corner late in the season, winning five of their last six games including four straight heading into Thursday's Sectional Final.

Paced by senior pitcher Dalton McClaskey (2-3) and sound defense, the Bolts kept the Aviators offense in check for most of the afternoon — holding Butler to just six hits.

"Northmont played well, so you have to give them credit — especially their pitcher," said Butler head coach Trent Dues after the game.

The Bolts struck first in the top of the second, taking advantage of a pair of Butler errors to grab an early 1-0 lead.

The Aviators would finally break into the run column in the bottom of the fourth.

Sophomore Boston Smith led the inning off with a single, and was advanced by fellow sophomore Quinton Hall.

Senior Karter Peck shot a screaming ground ball into the outfield to score Smith from second to knot the game at 1-1.

Peck would come around to score a batter later courtesy of Mike Masters to take a 2-1 lead.

An inning later Cody Borchers would help his own cause at the plate with an RBI single to score Cam Miller for a 3-1 lead.

It was all of the offense that the Aviators were  going to get — and fortunately all that they would need.

"We had just enough offense to get by, but we have to be better with our bats moving forward," said Dues.

Borchers (7-1) had another stellar performance on the mound for Butler, working 5 1/3 innings with seven strikeouts and just four hits allowed.

The senior right-hander started the sixth inning off with a ground out, but two singles and a hit batter later the Bolts were threatening with the bases loaded.

Northmont junior Chase Bickel lined an RBI single into center to pull Northmont to within 3-2, ending Borchers' day on the mound.

Junior Cam Miller came on in relief and his first offering to junior Keaton Kesling was a grounder to third baseman Boston Smith, who turned the quick double play to end the inning and more importantly the Northmont threat.

"Borchers did a nice job for 5 1/3 and Cam came in and did a great job in a tough situation with the bases loaded, and slammed the door in the seventh," said Dues.

He didn't just slam the door — he splintered the frame.

Miller would close out the win and pick-up the save with back-to-back punchouts and a ground out to retire the side in the seventh for the Aviator win.

"In  tournament time a win is a win — so we'll take it," said Dues.

"Survive and advance is the name of the game, and we did just enough to do that."

With the win Butler advances to the District Semi-Final where a rematch with GWOC American North foe Troy (19-6) awaits.  The game will be played on Tuesday, May 21st at 5:00 PM in Centerville.

VANDALIA - Butler improved to 20-4 overall and 14-0 in division play after a 10-0, runrule win over Troy Tuesday evening.

The win closed out the GWOC American North portion of the schedule - with Butler running the clean sweep through the division.  In fact a win over Trotwood on Thursday would give Butler a perfect 15-0 mark against the entire American side of the Greater Western Ohio Conference.

Doing their best to bounce back from a blowout loss Monday, the Trojans looked to make noise early — loading the bases to start the game.  The Aviators however were able to mitigate the threat with a groundout, strikeout and a flyout.

Troy would have another opportunity in the second inning, putting two on to start the inning — this time a strikeout and double play would dash the Trojan's hopes of breaking through.

"We avoided a few big threats early and took advantage of our hitting, which like our defense was solid tonight," said head coach Trent Dues.

Solid they were.

In between holding off the Troy threats, the Butler offense picked right up where they left off Monday night, crushing the ball and racking up runs.

After two innings of play, Butler was in control 4-0.

The Aviators continued the onslaught, scoring two runs in the next three innings for the 10-0 run-rule victory in five innings.

Offensively Butler was  paced by Boston Smith who finished 3-for-4 with an RBI. 

Cody Borchers, Karter Peck and Quinton Hall each had 2 RBI., while Zach Fults, Mike Masters and  Cooper Harestad each added an RBI.

On the mound Butler got solid outings from Braedon Norman and Cam Miller.

Norman got the win for Butler working two innings of shutout baseball, allowing just three hits while striking out two.

Miller came on in the third to earn the save, allowing just one hit while striking out two.

"Braedon is still working his way back from his injury, but got us out of a couple of situations," said Dues.

"Cam Miller pitched well for three innings to keep Troy at bay."

TROY - The Aviators continued their dominance over the GWOC American Conference with a resounding 10-4 win over Troy.

The win was enough to give Butler the outright GWOC American North Championship - the 19th division title in 25 seasons under head coach Trent Dues.

The Trojans came into the game needing a series sweep and help from Trotwood to clinch a share of the GWOC American crown, but the Aviators put any hope of that to bed early.

Starting pitcher Cody Borchers (6-1) was again impressive from the mound, taking a no hitter into the fourth inning.

The senior Edison State commit struck out five and allowed just three hits through five innings of work.

Borchers also made a little noise from the plate, sending a moonshot over the leftfield wall for a solo homerun in the seventh inning.

Borchers was relieved by Quinton Hall who closed things out in the sixth and seventh, allowing just one Trojan hit.

On the flipside, everyone of Butler's starters got a hit, as the Aviators combined for 14 hits in the win.

Senior Baldwin-Wallace commit Cooper Harestad led the way going 2-for-4 with three RBI and a run scored.

Bryce Echeman, Mike Masters, Quinton Hall, Boston Smith and Cam Miller each had a hit.

Cody Borchers, Karter Peck and Zach Fults each had two hits, one of which was a double for Fults.

Butler and Troy will closeout the series on Tuesday at Butler, with the first pitch set for 5:00 PM.

VANDALIA - The Aviators won their ninth straight game Saturday afternoon, and it was a dramatic one.

Down to the their final two outs in the bottom of the seventh, and facing a 3-4 deficit, senior Karter Peck ripped a bases loaded line drive to rightfield, sending Cam Miller and Boston Smith into a sea of jubilant teammates celebrating the 5-4 walk-off win.

"That was a nice walk-off, come from behind win," said coach Trent Dues.

"Cam, Boston and Q had three very good at bats to set the table for Karter - that was clutch."

"It's great to see Karter succeeding, as he has been such an unselfish player for us all spring, Dues said.

After jumping out to an early 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first, it looked as if Butler might run away with one.  The Panthers however had other plans, coming to life in the second inning to tie the game at 3-3.

The Panthers would take the lead in the fifth inning courtesy of Tyler Kean's hard ground single, scoring Jake D'Amico from third for a 4-3 lead.

It looked as though the lead would be enough to end the Butler streak, as the Aviators comeback attempts were stifled in back-to-back innings.

The "Earn Everything" identity of this team shined through once again, as the Aviators' unwillingness to fold and sound defense resulted in yet another clutch win.

"Our infield guys - Case, Fults, Borchers, Miller and Hall were very solid for us again today," said Dues.

Offensively Peck led the way for Butler going 2-for-4 with four RBI.  Cam Miller remained hot going 3-for-4, Cody Borchers finished 2-for-4 and Boston Smith added a hit.

On the mound, Butler got support from three arms in Alex Joynes, Quinton Hall and Will Yeary.

"All three pitchers did a nice job of keeping us in the game," said Dues.

Joynes got the star for Butler 3 1/3 innings, allowing just three hits and three runs.

Joynes was relieved by Hall who pitch 2 2/3 innings of three hit, one run baseball.

"Quinton pitched much better today and Alex didn't have his best stuff, but he battled to keep us in the game," said Dues.

Yeary came on in the seventh to strike out the side, en route to earning the win for the Aviators.

"Will did a great job of getting us out of a jam in the seventh, striking out three straight after the first two guys got on," said Dues.

The win lifts Butler to 18-4 overall and 12-0 in the division as they head into the final week of the regular season.

Next up for Butler is a Monday/Tuesday series with Troy (15-4, 9-3), with Monday's contest being played in Troy at the Market Street field.

VANDALIA - The Aviators put an exclamation point on a big week of  conference baseball with a 9-2 win over West Carrollton, securing at least a share of the GWOC American North.

Butler junior Cam Miller (3-1) had another strong showing on the mound, going the distance for Butler with twelve strikeouts.

Offensively, the Aviators were making solid contact early but just could not hit the gaps.

That all changed in the third inning, highlighted by a Karter Peck grand-slam homerun — his third round tripper of the season.

The Aviators added three additional runs in the fourth inning to put things on ice.

Peck finished the day 1-for-1 with 4 RBI, while sophomore Boston Smith went 2-for-3 with 2 RBI.

Cam Miller and Cody Borchers also had hits, while sophomore Quinton Hall and Zach Fults each had two hits in the win.

Butler returns to action on Saturday, hosting Springboro (16-4, 7-2) at 12:00 PM.

TIPP CITY - It was a series that certainly lived up to the building hype. And it was a series that belongs to the Aviators, as Butler completed the sweep of rival Tippecanoe with a 2-1 win Tuesday evening.

While the two games were in stark contrast to one another, they both featured plenty of drama.

After Monday's slugfest, Tuesday turned out to be a pitching duel, complemented by sound defense.

Red Devils starter Ian Yunker was dominant, striking out 10 and allowing just three hits — but the Aviators were savvy and took what they needed.

The breakthrough for Butler came in the top of the seventh when Mike Masters hit a line drive single to give Butler a baserunner.

Austin Greaser came on the pinch run and was advanced by Zach Fults, putting Greaser at second with two away.

Hitless on the day up to that point, catcher Cooper Harestad picked the perfect time to get hot, ripping a single to centerfield to score Greaser from second for the 2-1 lead and a tidal wave of momentum.

Pitcher Cody Borchers, who was solid through four innings of relief for starter Braedon Norman came out with authority in the seventh.

"Our pitching has been doing well, we’ve been playing defense and getting enough offense. It’s a nice combination,” Dues said.

The senior right hander made quick work of Joey Dietz and Andrew Baileys with back-to-back strikeouts. Tipp's Cade Beam sent a sharp grounder to third baseman Boston Smith who scooped and fired to Quinton Hall at first for the final out.

“That was a great game. It was an absolute pitchers duel,” Dues said. “It’s one of those where a mistake here and there is going to decide it. In close games you hate to see it decided like that.”

It was a game opportunity and the Aviators pounced when they had the chance. It was Butler who drew first blood in the top of the second on a Tipp error, scoring Fults for the early 1-0 lead.

The Aviators nursed the lead, as Norman was solid on the mound for Butler through three innings of work, before giving way to Borchers who was again clutch on the mound.

The Red Devils capitalized on a Butler error in the bottom of the sixth to knot the game at 1-1, but in the end it was the Aviators day — and series.

“We’ve got work to do yet. It’s not over by any means,” said Butler coach Trent Dues after the win.

“We’re playing good baseball. We can’t get away with not showing up every day. They know their roles and they’re playing well.”

With the win, Butler improved to 16-4 overall and 11-0 in the American Division. The Aviators can clinch the division Thursday with a win over West Carrollton at 7:00 PM.

VANDALIA - It was a clash that certainly lived up to the hype, as rivals Butler and Tippecanoe clashed in a GWOC North showdown Monday evening.

The Aviators entered the game knowing that they would face Red Devils ace Kenten Egbert, who came into the game with a GWOC leading 60 strikeouts and ERA of 0.22.

On the flipside, Bruce Cahill and company knew that they would be facing the GWOC North leaders in runs scored.

In the end it was Butler's bats that prevailed in a 10-7 win over Tippecanoe, a slugfest that saw the teams combine for 26 hits.

"It was really nice to see us get the bats out tonight," said Butler coach Trent Dues.

The win puts the Aviators (15-4, 10-0) in complete control of their destiny as the grind through the meat of the remaining schedule.

It was all Butler early, as the Aviators jumped on Egbert right out of the gate.

Cody Borchers got things started with a single, followed by a Boston Smith double - putting runners at second and third with one out.

Quinton Hall singled on the next at bat, scoring Borchers.  Next up, Karter Peck ripped and RBI single to right field, plating Smith for a 2-0 lead.

Mike Masters hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Hall for a 3-0 lead.

The Aviators and Red Devils traded runs in the second, as Butler maintained a three run lead at 4-1.

Tipp rallied in the third with two outs, plating three runs to knot the game at 4-4.  Tipp's C.J. Miller sent an RBI single to left field for a 5-4 lead.  It would be the first and only time that Tipp would lead.

The Aviators continued their barrage on Egbert, ringing the Miami commit for nine runs through five innings of work.

Quinton Hall finished 3-for-4 with two RBI's, while Karter Peck also had a monster day going 2-for-4 with three RBI.

Cam Miller, Cody Borchers (1 RBI), Boston Smith each had two hits, while Mike Masters and Cooper Harestad each added a hit and an RBI.

"Everyone contributed, it was a great team win," said Dues.

Alex Joynes earned the win for Butler, pitching four innings of relief for starter Quinton Hall.  Cody Borchers came on in the seventh to close out the win and earn the save.

"Joynes pitched great out of the pen and Borchers did a nice job with the final out," said Dues.

"Got to get back at it tomorrow."

Butler will travel to Tipp City Tuesday to wrap-up the series at Clawson Field.  Game time is set for 5:00 PM.

XENIA - The Aviators picked up a big win Saturday afternoon, knocking off Xenia (18-4, 8-3) in a hard fought 2-1 win.

In a game where hits were incredibly hard to come by, the Butler pitching trifecta of Norman, Borchers and Hall was exactly what Butler needed.

"We got great pitching today from Norman, Borchers and a few pitches from Quinton Hall," said head coach Trent Dues after the game.

"We needed it because we did not swing the bat real well today."

Braedon Norman got the start for Butler, pitching three innings of two hit baseball with five strikeouts.

Coming off of Tommy John surgery, Norman has shown an impressive progression this spring for the Aviators.

Cody Borchers who earned the win, came on in the fourth inning, striking out the side enroute to five strikeouts and a hitless performance through 3 2/3 innings of work.  Quinton Hall came aboard in the seventh, striking out the only batter faced to secure the win.

The Aviators struck first in the second inning with the bases loaded and one out, Mike Masters hit a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring Quinton Hall from third for a 1-0 lead.

The Buccs would strike back in the third when Joey Lewis doubled to score Ayden Evans, knotting the game at 1-1.

The stalemate would remain until the top of the sixth when Zach Fults was able to get Hall across the plate once again for the 2-1 advantage.

"Xenia has a solid team and this was a really good win for us on a day where we had to manufacture a couple of runs," said Dues.

"I'll take an ugly winner before a cute loser any day, so I guess we'll take it."

The schedule does not get any easier with back-to back division games against rival Tippecanoe (11-7, 9-2) on Monday and Tuesday, a point not lost on Dues.

"Hopefully our bats will warm up a little, starting next week against Tipp," said Dues.

VANDALIA - For the second day in a row Butler blanked the Sidney Yellowjackets, this time to the tune of 5-0.

The Aviators also got a repeat stellar pitching performance, courtesy of Cody Borchers and Alex Joynes.

Borchers got the start for Butler, working six strong innings from the mound, allowing just two hits while striking out nine enroute to the win.

Alex Joynes came on in the seventh to slam the door shut, picking up the save.

At the plate, Quinton Hall went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a double. 

Zach Fults had two  RBI and Karter Peck also added an RBI for the Aviators.

With the win Butler improved to 13-4 overall & 8-0 in GWOC North play. 

Butler will get a day off and then will end the week with two league games against Trotwood at home Thursday and a trip to face red hot Xenia on Friday.

SIDNEY - The Aviators returned from their weeklong roadtrip and showed no signs of fatigue, crushing GWOC North foe Sidney 11-0 Monday afternoon.

Butler has won 11 of the its last 13 games and remained hot against the Yellowjackets, hammering out eleven hits and stealing nine bases.

Sophomore lefty Quinton Hall was again hot on the mound for Butler, pitching a complete game shutout with eight strikeouts.  Hall surrendered just two hits to Sidney in the win.

Not only was Hall effective on the mound, he also sizzled at the plate going 3-for-4 with and RBI and two runs scored.

Zach Fults, Cooper Harestad and Cam Miller each added two RBI and Karter Peck was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a double.

Butler and Sidney will wrap-up the series tomorrow at Butler with a 5:00 start time.

MYRTLE BEACH, SC - The Aviators wrapped-up their week at The Ripken Experience Thursday night with two bigs wins, to finish their roadtrip with a 3-1 record.

Originally scheduled to play games on both Thursday and Friday, the threat of inclement weather forced the Aviators into a doubleheader against Mount Tabor (NC) and St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute (NY).

For Butler it would wind up being two wins earned in very different fashions.

Game One began like most of the other games this week, shaping up to be a defensive battle with limited offense.

On the mound for Butler, Alex Joynes was solid pitching a complete game, striking out five.

Mount Tabor jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first inning.  The Aviators would answer in the third on a Boston Smith double, scoring Zach Fults to knot the game at 1-1.

In the top of the next inning the Spartans plated two runs to regain the lead at 3-1.  

The Aviators however answered in the bottom of the sixth inning with a Karter Peck RBI scoring Quinton Hall to cut the lead to 3-2.

After a 1-2-3 top of the seventh, the Aviators had one last chance for heroics  – and that is exactly what they delivered.

Charlie Dent got things started with a leadoff single.  Kaden Echeman reached on a catcher's interference call, and with two outs and time running out, Cam Miller hit a sharp grounder through the Spartan's shortstop Jack Ballsieper, to plate Greaser and Echeman for the dramatic 4-3 walk-off win.

In the nightcap the Aviators handed the Marauders of St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute (NY) their first loss of the season win an 8-0 shutout win.

Senior Braedon Norman made his first start of the year and looked good in the win, working two innings of hitless baseball with four strikeouts.  Cam Miller pitched the remaining five innings and was red hot, striking out eight, while allowing just one hit.

Byron Greaser went 2-for-3 with an RBI and Karter Peck was a perfect 3-for-3 with an RBI.  Cody Borchers and Boston Smith each tripled in the blowout win.

The Aviators (11-4, 6-0) return to GWOC North action on Monday, facing off with the Yellow Jackets at Sidney.

MYRTLE BEACH, SC - For the second straight day the Aviators were treated to beautiful blue skies and a quality opponent in West Forsyth.

The Titans who hail from Clemmons, North Carolina are one of the top 4A baseball programs in the Winston-Salem area and it showed in Tuesday's 7-2 win over Butler.

Much like Monday's game, the Aviators and Titans battled it out for six full innings, until the Titans sealed things in the seventh inning.

Sophomore Boston Smith got things started for the Aviators early, hitting a first inning homerun for an early 1-0 lead.  Smith would go on to finish 2-for-3 from the plate with a double.

The Titans answered in the third inning, plating two runs to take a 2-1 lead and added another in the fourth inning to go ahead 3-1.

Karter Peck, who would finish 2-for-3  on the afternoon picked up an RBI in the bottom half of the fourth, scoring Boston Smith from third to cut the lead to 3-2.

It was as close at it would get, as West Forsyth slammed the door in the top of the seventh plating four additional runs for a 7-2 lead.

Clinging to hope, the Aviators loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, but it was not to be as the Titans extinguished the threat.

The Aviators (9-4, 6-0) will enjoy a day off tomorrow and then return to action Thursday evening with a 6:00 PM tilt against Mount Tabor out of Winston-Salem, NC.

MYRTLE BEACH, SC - For the better part of five innings Monday evening, the Aviators and Red Raiders of Fairport, New York were tangled up in a pitcher's duel.

It was a battle of southpaws with Butler sophomore Quinton Hall and Fairport senior Josh Van Bramer, an Alfred State commit making hits hard to come by for most of the night.

The Aviators would strike first in the bottom of the first inning when Cody Borchers singled to right field, plating Cam Miller for an early 1-0 lead.

The Red Raiders would capitalize on a Butler error in the third inning, putting runners at first and third with two outs.  Anthony Roides tripled on a line drive to right field, scoring Parker Houde and Tyler Holmes for a 2-1 lead.

The Aviators would retake the lead for good in the bottom of the fifth inning

Cam Miller's line drive to centerfield scored Quinton Hall and Mike Masters to give Butler a 3-2 lead.

Butler built on that lead an inning later with a Karter Peck RBI, scoring Boston Smith.  Will Yeary provide additional insurance with a sacrifice fly to score Peck for the 5-2 lead.

It was more than enough runs for Hall, who sizzled on the mound for Butler.  Hall went the distance for the Aviators, striking out nine and allowed just five hits through seven innings of work.

The win improves Butler to 9-3, 6-0 as the Aviators look to  a 3:00 PM match-up against West Forsyth (10-7) out of Clemmons, NC.

GREENVILLE - The Aviators wrapped-up the series with Greenville Tuesday afternoon with a resounding 21-0, runrule win.

Seemingly picking up where they left off Monday, the Aviators offense was again unstoppable as Butler turned sixteen hits and five Greenville errors into twenty-one runs.

While the offense remained hot, the pitching trifecta of Cody Borchers, Alex Joynes and Cam Miller shined on the mound for Butler.

Borchers got the start for the Aviators and pitched two strong innings, allowing just one hit while striking out three.

Joynes and Miller came on in relief and preserved the shutout, holding the Greenwave hitless for the final three innings.

Borchers helped his own cause from the plate going 4-for-5 with three RBI.

Boston Smith finished 3-for-4 with three RBI and Mike Masters was 3-for-3 with three RBI.

The win extended the Butler win streak to seven games and lifted the overall record to 8-2 and 6-0 in GWOC American play.

Butler will get a good test, playing host to a red hot Beavercreek (9-1, 5-0) on Thursday at 5:00 PM.

VANDALIA - After the first nine games of the 2019 season one thing is apparent  — these guys can hit, run and score.

As they have in each of their seven wins this season, the Aviators continued the barrage of hits, stolen bases and runs.  This time it was visiting Greenville (4-5, 2-2) on the wrong side of another lopsided Butler win, this one to the tune of 16-1.

For the Greenwave a bad day at the ballpark got worse in a hurry.

Cam Miller got the Aviators started with a leadoff single to begin the bottom of the first, after which Greenville would issue two walks and a batter hit-by-pitch, loading bases for the dangerous Karter Peck.

The bruising senior sent the first pitch he saw to deep right, with a grand slam shot over the Purple Monster for an early 5-0 lead.

It was just the beginning.

The Aviators would bat around in the first inning, eventually ending with Butler up 11-0.

Butler added three runs in the second inning and two in the fourth for the run-rule win.

Sophomore pitcher Quinton Hall had more than enough offense, as he held Greenville in check all afternoon.  The southpaw pitched four innings of shutout baseball and struck out four.

Cooper Harestad (3 RBI), Boston Smith (2 RBI), Quinton Hall and Cam Miller (2 RBI) each doubled in the win.

Butler and Greenville will complete the series Tuesday in a 5:00 PM matchup at Greenville.

VANDALIA - The long standing rivalry between Northmont and Butler might not be more celebrated than when the baseball teams from these two schools collide each year.

Saturday's game in Englewood was no different from previous years, as the usual large crowd gathered to see two old rivals meet.

Riding a four game winning streak into the game, Butler struck first erupting for six runs in the third inning for an early 6-0 lead.  The Aviators added two additional runs in the fourth inning and appeared to be cruising to yet another run-rule win with an 8-0 lead.

After three strong innings of work on the mound, starting pitcher Cody Borchers left the game with the Bolts scoreless and hitless.  

The Bolts took advantage of the change and rallied for six runs of their own in the bottom of the fourth inning, closing the gap to 8-6.

The Aviators answered in the fifth inning with four more runs to put the game out of reach, winning comfortably 13-7.

Cam Miller came on to close out the final two innings on the mound for Butler, striking out four while holding the Bolts to just two hits.

Offensively it was another slugfest for the Aviators who continue to see the ball well from the plate, combining for 14 hits.

Karter Peck finished 2-for-2 and added an exclamation mark to a big third inning with a homerun blast to right-field.

Boston Smith went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI, Cam Miller was 3-for-5 with four RBI and Zach Fults 3-for-5 with two RBI.

Fults also logged 1 2/3 quality innings on the mound, striking out two while allowing just one Northmont hit.

The Aviators resume GWOC North play Monday, hosting Greenville (3-4, 2-1) at 5:00 PM.

RIVERSIDEThe Aviators kept their winning streak alive Friday evening by defeating host Stebbins 13-0 in a GWOC American Conference matchup.  The win improved Butler to 5-2 overall and 4-0 in division play.

Butler off to a quick start with a leadoff single from Cam Miller, followed by a Zach Fults double.  Boston Smith's RBI scored Miller from third, while Cooper Harestad singled to plate Fults for the early 2-0 lead.

It was a sign of things to come for the Indians, as Butler would build upon the lead in each inning en route to the run-rule win.

Butler added one run in the second inning for a 3-0 lead, before blowing the game wide open in the third with six runs, ballooning to a 9-0 lead.

As they have all season, the Aviators was once again victimized their opponent on the basepaths, stealing twelve bases in the blowout victory.

Butler got another strong pitching performance, this time from Will Yeary who worked 2 2/3 innings and allowed just one hit, while striking out three.  Yeary also helped his own cause with an RBI and a double.

Zach Fults came on in relief and held Stebbins hitless.

Offensively a number of Aviators had a productive day, as Butler combined for seventeen hits.

Leading the charge was Cam Miller who finished the day 4-for-4 with a double, an RBI and four runs scored.  Zach Fults went 3-for-4 with two RBI and two doubles.

Cooper Harestad was 3-for-4 with three RBI, while Boston Smith was 2-for-4 with three RBI and double.

Butler returns to action Saturday at noon, making the trek across the dam to face Northmont.

VANDALIA - The Aviators improved to 4-2 overall and 3-0 in the GWOC American Conference with an 11-1 run-rule win over visiting Piqua Wednesday afternoon.

Cooper Justice got the start on the mound for Butler and shined, holding Piqua to just three hits while striking out four through four innings of work.  Justice was relieved by Cody Borchers who was stellar in two innings of relief, holding the Indians hitless.  

"We got some very good pitching from Cooper and Cody," said head coach Trent Dues after the game.

The Aviators again utilized their speed on the basepaths, stealing an eye popping 33 bases in the two game series.  

"We again ran the bases well and had some nice hits from Boston Smith, Charlie Dent, Will Yeary, Karter Peck, Logan Case and Quinton Hall," said Dues.

Smith had two doubles, while Hall and Yeary each had a double in the win.

In addition to sound hitting and clutch pitching, the Aviators defense had a number of big plays which kept the Indians bats in check all afternoon.

"We played very good defense led by Cooper Harestad doing a nice job behind the plate tonight," Dues said.

Weather permitting the Aviators will be back at it Friday at Stebbins, with the first pitch set for 5:00 PM.

PIQUA - Butler (3-2, 2-0) outmuscled host Piqua 12-9 Tuesday night for a key GWOC American North win.

It was a back and forth affair for most of the afternoon as both teams combined for 23 hits.  The key difference in this one however was Butler's ability to seemingly steal bases at will, racking up 19 stolen bases.

The key point in the game came in the sixth inning with two outs and the Aviators trailing 9-8.  Butler senior Karter Peck crushed an RBI double to knot the game at 9-9.  Will Yeary followed suit with a clutch RBI single, scoring Peck for a 10-9 lead.  Butler would go on to add two additional runs in the seventh for insurance.

Yeary finished the day going 3-for-4 at the plate, while Peck was 2-for-3.  Boston Smith and Cooper Harestad each added two hits in the win while Quinton Hall added two RBI.

Senior Cam Miller earned the win on the mound for Butler and Kaiden Echeman picked up the save.

The Aviators will host Piqua in the series finale Wednesday at 5:00 PM.

FAIRBORN – The Aviators (2-2) evened their record Thursday evening with a 12-2 win over host Fairborn (0-2). The win was a special one, as it was win number 500 for Butler Head Coach Trent Dues, who has spent all 25 seasons as the head coach at Butler.

"The best part about 500 is the fact that my assistants Scott Thompson, Steve Clark and Mike Bardonaro started with me and we are still together," said Dues after the win.

"This is their 500th win as well.  Congrats to the guys that are the unsung heroes, they are a huge reason why I keep going."

The Aviators got off to a fast start, building a 5-0 lead after the first two innings of play. The Skyhawks rallied in the fifth, loading the bases, but were only able to come away with two runs.

Butler answered with a run in the sixth inning courtesy of a Boston Smith grounder, scoring senior Cam Miller from third.

Miller had another big day at the plate for Butler with a triple, a double, three runs and two RBI. Logan Case went 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI, while Boston Smith added two RBI in the winning effort. 

Cooper Harestad and Charlie Dent (2 RBI) doubled for the Aviators and Zach Fults finished 3-for-5 with two RBI.

Sophomore Quinton Hall (1-1) got the start for Butler and pitched four quality innings, allowing just one run while striking out five. Hall was relieved by junior Alex Joynes who allowed just one run.

VANDALIA - Down 8-4 in the bottom of the seventh, the Aviators did their best to rally to a comeback win, but ultimately fell short in an 8-6 loss to Miamisburg Wednesday evening.  The loss dropped Butler to 1-2 on the season.

Cam Miller led the Aviators offensively going 2-for-4 with three RBI, while Zach Fults went 2-for-3 with two RBI and two runs.

Butler will travel to Fairborn on Thursday for a 5:00 tilt versus the Skyhawks.

VANDALIA - The Aviators shook off an opening day loss to Chaminade-Julienne, with a 7-1 win over visiting Lebanon Tuesday evening.

Senior Cam Miller and junior Alex Joynes combined on the mount, holding the Warriors to just one hit on the day.

Miller got the start, working the first two innings with two strikeouts.  Joynes pitched the final five innings, striking out two to earn the win.

Miller also paced the Aviators offensively going 2-for-2 with two RBI and three stolen bases.

Boston Smith, Quinton Hall, Logan Case, and Will Yeary each added an RBI of their own in the winning effort.

The Aviators defense put together a solid afternoon as well, playing errorless baseball.

Butler returns to action Wednesday at 5:00 pm, playing host to Miamisburg.

By: Ryan Wallace -

VANDALIA - Head Coach Trent Dues and his Aviators have set the gold standard at Butler over the last three decades, as his teams have finished no lower than second place in every season since 1995.

It's a rare feat that has been accomplished by players buying into a philosophy that requires hard work, versatility and team first attitude.

They are the pillars that Butler will lean on this spring as they enter the season banged up but eager to make the final season in the Greater Western Ohio Conference a memorable one.

Under the jerseys the words "Earn Everything" are blazoned across the backs of the Aviators.  While it is especially fitting this season, it's been a battle cry from the beginning.

Coming off of back-to-back DI District Final appearances, the Aviators bar is again set high as Dues enters his 25th season at the helm.

"We are coming into the season coming off a nice tournament run last year," said Dues.

"Winning the sectional, beating top seeded Springboro in the District Semi's and losing a tough game to Moeller, after being up early in the District finals, showed the improvement we made as the season progressed.  Being a small Division I school and competing with schools more than 2 and 3 times our size is something we have always prided ourselves on and that continued last year."

In spite of losing a number of last season's starters to graduation and injury, Dues is optimistic and eager for 2019.

"We are looking to better last year's second place finish in the GWOC North (11-4)," said Dues.

"We have some solid players coming back from last year's team that we are looking towards to stand up and lead the way."

Right out of the gate, there will be an unquestionable void on the mound for Butler.  Three year starter and senior Wright State commit Braedon Norman (3-2, 47 k's, 1.58 era, 31 ip), who is in the top five in several career pitching categories at Butler,  is recovering from Tommy John surgery last May.

The Aviators are hopeful that Norman will be able to return at some point in the season.

Sophomore Quinton Hall (5-4, 2.46 era, 42.2 ip) is coming off of an impressive freshmen season on the mound, succeeding in several big games while showing upper class composure and mound savvy.  

Junior Alex Joynes pitched 13 innings last season, gaining valuable varsity experience as a sophomore.  

Senior Edison State commit Cody Borchers (6 ip) has a strong arm and the potential to do some damage on the hill for the Aviators this spring.

"We will be looking to several guys who have the stuff to help us on the bump in seniors Cam Miller and Karter Peck, along with juniors Cooper Justice, Will Yeary and sophomore Kaiden Echeman," said Dues.

Versatility should serve the Aviators well, as Dues and staff should have a lot of flexibility with the lineups this season.

"We are blessed with having four quality catchers," said Dues.

"I can only remember one other time in my 25 year varsity career where we have been three deep behind the plate, let alone four deep. We can only catch one at a time so we are asking guys to be flexible and be able to play multiple positions."

Sophomore Boston Smith (.309, 21 RBI) logged the majority of the innings behind the plate last season and was voted the Team MVP as a freshmen.   Smith earned MVP honors with several huge hits in 2018 and threw out out 12 runners behind the dish.  

"Smith has all the tools, arm strength, athleticism, pop in his bat, running ability and game savvy," said Dues.

Senior Edison State commit Karter Peck (.329, 17 RBI), senior Baldwin Wallace commit Cooper Harestad and junior Brent Forbes are all quality catchers as well, and will split time with Smith in addition to playing other positions.

"I know they all want to catch but we have talked about this dilemma so that it does not create problems on our team," said Dues.

Quinton Hall, Cooper Harestad, Cam Miller and senior Charlie Dent will all be vying for time at first base. 

Logan Case, Cody Borchers, Byron Greaser, Zach Fults and Dylan Hartman will paltonn the middle infield for the Aviators.

Third base also has several candidates in Boston Smith, Cooper Harestad, Will Yeary, Brent Forbes and sophomore Mike Masters.

"We have a lot of guys who can do a lot.  This creates some interesting dilemmas for the coaching staff but competition breeds success and that is our ultimate goal," said Dues.
Sophomore Carson Clark who hit .260 and saw the bulk of the action at second base as a freshman last year tore his ACL in basketball, but there is hope that he will be able to contribute later in the season.

Similar to the infield, Butler will have tremendous depth in the outfield with Mike Masters, Cam Miller, Karter Peck, Will Yeary, Zach Fults, Brent Forbes, and Kaiden Echeman. 

"Miller and Peck played very well in the outfield last year and contributed offensively," said Dues.

"Peck has a lot of pop in his bat and Miller's ability to swing it and run will be looked upon to provide some key offense this spring,"

The pop has been shown early and often with Peck this spring, as the senior has rattled the fences a number of times and went deep against Hamilton in the preseason.

"Our lineup will probably change depending upon who is on the hill and who is hot," said Dues.  

"Many of our guys worked very hard in the off season and several are multiple sports guys," said Dues.

"They seem to have good chemistry and I  am really looking forward to going to war with them.  We have potential and now we have to put it all together.  We will give it everything we have to make that happen."